'Edge' question of the year

Edge.org is often called the world's smartest website. It's truly smart in the sense of its intellectual heft. The idea of "Edge.org" is simple: to bring together world's smartest brains from diverse fields, increase the interaction between then and ask them tough questions. The idea is that innovation happens at the intersection of fields and this is world's largest known conglomeration of best brains.

Edge.org brings together distinguished researchers from diverse fields, entrepreneurs, politicians, artists and so on, and does various activities. Visit the website to check the list of people. It's mind blowing!

One activity is the seminars, where one of these specialists gives a seminar. Unlike traditional academic seminars, Edge seminars have specialists from diverse fields as participants asking tough questions. It's a way of bringing diverse perspectives to the table and discuss tough questions. For instance, Tetlock is giving a seminar on prediction and you have Richard Thaler etc. in audience, asking him tough questions.

The second feature is the researcher profiles. Edge regularly does interviews of researchers from diverse fields regarding the broad areas of their research, explained in a simple language. The sheer diversity and depth of the knowledge in these interviews is mesmerizing. For instance, one of the researchers was working on the phenomenon of physical pain vs. mental pain. She discovered that parts of brain that deal with both physical and mental pain are the same. It has great implications - for instance, by increasing your sensitivity to physical pain, you can increase your sensitivity to mental pain too, and so on.

My personal favourite is the 'Annual question of the year'. Every year, Edge.org's director poses a question. Distinguished people from diverse fields answer this question. For instance, one year the question was - what scientific concept would improve everyone's toolkit? You have world's best researchers in Physics, Chemistry, Psychology, and entrepreneurs etc answering this question. The enormous diversity of the perspectives of people from different fields, reflected in their answers is amusing to see. One gets to learn a lot about systematic thinking by reading responses to this question.

Similarly, there are questions like - what is your most favourite, deep, elegant explanation? Each person answers this question from the perspective of their own field, making it a great learning experience.

This year's Edge Annual question is - What scientific concept ought to be widely known? 205 experts answered this question. Reading on response daily will be the time best spent throughout the year.

PS: With this post, the blog reaches the milestone of 150 posts. It has come a long way since August, 2015. There's a new domain name to the blog now. It's www.iterativeadaptation.in. The old one www.iterativeadaptation.blogspot.com still works. For those who find Medium as a convenient platform, I am cross posting on Medium at https://medium.com/iterative-adaptation.

Happy new year.

No comments:

Post a Comment